The Many Needs For Visual Guidance

TeeJet Matrix Pro GPS Guidance System

On the surface, it seems like a fairly simple question: What’s new with visual guidance systems? However, according to Mike Olson, North American sales manager for Ag Leader Technology, a completely thorough answer depends upon a number of factors. “In today’s agricultural world, the concept of visual guidance can mean different things to different users, depending on what they are using the systems for and how detailed they are,” says Olson. “The short answer is ‘lots.’”

At one extreme are those users who want visual guidance systems to simply serve as “an extra set of eyes” in the field. “Even today, there are still a lot of people in agriculture that are just getting into the whole visual guidance arena,” he says. “And this group is still learning how to adopt the technology to what they want to accomplish in the field.”

Adds Ryan Molitor, marketing supervisor, Applied Technology Division for Raven Industries, this group of users have to be taught that visual guidance isn’t that complicated to implement into their operations. “There are still many folks out there in the market that haven’t adopted visual guidance systems into their businesses because they have a perception — right or wrong — that there is too much complexity involved to get them to work properly,” says Molitor. “Their thinking seems to be that they don’t have enough acres to justify the cost.”

For this crowd, Raven offers its Cruizer II unit as an option. Built with a color touchscreen display, Cruizer II gives users a downfield three-dimensional (3D) perspective to check coverage and field lines. “Cruizer II is simple to use and offers users a quick payback,” says Molitor. “But the unit is versatile enough that users can eventually add more sophisticated features as they get more comfortable with the technology. This includes options for boom section control and automatic steering.”

Simple Needs

Ag Leader’s Olson says his company takes a similar approach with early adopters. “We tell these users that there is a lot more to precision farming than just the visual guidance part of it,” he says. “So we advise them to find a system that is simple to use at first, but offers some kind of expandability as their need for more sophisticated abilities grow.”

To these users, Ag Leader has a pair of products — the Versa and Integra display. The Versa display has a broad range of features, says Dave King, marketing manager, including guidance/steering, planter control, application control and yield monitoring standard. More sophisticated options such as autoswath and boom height control can be unlocked as needed.

“But if the user wants to upgrade to the Integra, it’s as easy as disconnecting the Versa and plugging in the Integra,” says King. “All connections are the same between the displays and file formats data can be transferred between the displays with a USB drive. There is no need to load the files into an external software package.”

TeeJet Technologies has a similar set-up with its Matrix Pro Guidance system when it comes to users. Accord­ing to Dave Brackmann, technical support specialist, the Matrix Pro is easy to use on the most basic level, but can be upgraded to run the company’s Field Pilot and BoomPilot options “easily.”

Jeff Farrar, director of marketing for Hemisphere GPS, agrees that this “adaptability approach” is a great way to introduce users to the concept of visual guidance systems without overwhelming them with technology jargon. “There are still smaller users out there that just want some visual guidance and nothing more for the time being,” says Farrar. “We are happy to help these folks find what they need, such as our Outback STS and S3 systems. But we also suggest to them that they purchase a system that allows them to make some upgrades so they have something to build upon in the future.”

The Data Quest

On the other end of the scale of visual guidance users are those that have already gotten pretty familiar with the technology side of things and are now looking to taking some “next steps” in their operations. “Let’s face it — this used to be a very hardware-driven business not too many years ago,” says Randy Wulf, regional sales manager, South-Central U.S. for Trimble. “Now, however, we are moving into more software-driven options, particularly for improved data management. These customers are very used to the technology out in the market, but now they want to be able to use it more effectively to boost their bottom lines.”

To take advantage of this trend, Trimble offers its Connected Farm system. An integrated operations management solution that combines industry-leading hardware and software to increase efficiency and effectiveness for today’s farming business, Connected Farm enables “improved management of farming operations between the field and office through wireless communication from handheld-to-office, vehicle-to-office, and now vehicle-to-vehicle,” says Wulf. “The newly released Vehicle Sync option enables vehicle-to-vehicle communication between operators in the same field, allowing them to share coverage maps, A/B guidance lines and other pertinent field data, saving time.”

Marty Cook, North American sales manager for Topcon, agrees that this need for “better data management” is a key market driver. “The biggest trend you will see in the visual guidance market in 2012 is the desire for better data transfer abilities from the systems,” says Cook. “How users out there put this together and make it work for them will be a big push this year.”

To this end, Topcon offers its X30 console as part of its System 350 as an option. The console is equipped with ISO functionality so it can “plug-and-play” with any ISO compatible implements. Last November, the company added the ability for the X30 to interface with NORAC’s boom leveling system via ISO.

Then, adds Cook, there is the X30’s large 12.1-inch touchscreen display. “This features multi-touch, drop-and-drag capabilities for the user,” he says. “In this sense, it’s a lot like another popular piece of technology out in the market today, the iPad.”

Too Much Data

However, cautions Harlan Little, business manager for Leica Geosystems, just collecting massive amounts of data isn’t what more users should be looking to do with their visual guidance systems. “I’ve never seen answers magically fall out of heaps of data,” says Little. “Lots and lots of data collection can lead to confusion for the user. They first need to ask some good questions before digging into their data management plans. I would suggest trying to find answers to a top two or three questions, not trying to figure out a top 20.”

For these users, Leica has the mojo3D guidance display. “The Leica mojo3D guidance display is a smarter precision guidance system, loaded with industry leading advances designed to help save time and money,” says Little. “It has multiple upgrade options so it can be customized to fit a user’s individual needs.”

Leave a Reply

Precision Ag Stories

Illinois Researchers
FertilizerMeasure Of Age In Soil Nitrogen Could Help Precision Agriculture
July 26, 2016
What’s good for crops is not always good for the environment. Nitrogen, a key nutrient for plants, can cause problems Read More
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgSix Reasons Senior Executives Must Attend The First-Ever PrecisionAg Vision Conference
July 11, 2016
As I made a West Coast swing this spring to visit companies including The Climate Corp. and Planet Labs, there Read More
EquipmentSouth Dakota State: ‘All In’ On Precision Ag Education
July 6, 2016
Last summer, when we were in the midst of planning for our August PrecisionAg Innovation Series conference, we got an Read More
Craig Houin Sunrise Cooperative iPad
Precision AgState Of Precision Ag 2016: Gut Check Time For Value
May 31, 2016
There’s no denying that precision technologies and practices are more vibrant than ever. Equipment manufacturers have fine-tuned the hardware for Read More
Trending Articles
Southeast Farmers Coop - Finished Building
Retail FacilitiesNew Stueve Facilities Offer Ag Retailers Speed, Accuracy
July 9, 2016
Leading the industry in planning and constructing dry fertilizer storage and chemical warehouse solutions, Stueve Construction helped three ag retailers Read More
Heritage Cooperative
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Designs State-Of-The-Art Facility For Heritage Cooperative
July 4, 2016
Heritage Cooperative in Marysville, OH, needed an efficient liquid, dry and grain facility to serve the many needs of their Read More
The Andersons Waterloo
ManagementFirst Indiana Facility Certified Under 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program
June 27, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s Waterloo, IN, facility has been added to its Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To Explore IT Solutions
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Eric SfiligojWhat’s Next For Monsanto?
May 31, 2016
For the folks at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, MO, it has been an eventful few weeks. Back on May Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” Read More
Latest News
FertilizerGypsum Added To List Of Conservation Practices
July 28, 2016
Crop farmers in a growing number of states may be eligible for financial assistance from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Read More
Management2016 CTIC Cover Crop Survey: 33% Report ROI From Cover …
July 28, 2016
Insight from 2,020 farmers from across the country reflected enthusiasm for cover crops and—for the fourth year in a row—found Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesStudy: Fall Weed Controls Can Make Significant Impact O…
July 28, 2016
An article published in the latest issue of the journal Weed Science shows that adopting harvest-time and post-harvest weed controls Read More
InsecticidesSyngenta: Beware Of Early Stinkbug Threat To Soybeans
July 28, 2016
With the record warm temperatures this past winter and confirmations from early entomologist reports, Syngenta encourages growers to monitor stinkbug Read More
Peanut field
Crop InputsVerdesian Introduces New Inoculant For Peanuts
July 28, 2016
As planning begins for the next growing season, Verdesian Life Sciences adds Primo Power CL, a new liquid inoculant, to Read More
Soil Young Corn
Crop InputsSmithsonian: 5 Things to Know About New GMO Labeling Bi…
July 27, 2016
On July 14, the House of Representatives passed a bill requiring large food companies to label products containing genetically modified Read More
Palmer pigweed in soybean stubble
HerbicidesSpecial Issue Of Weed Science Explores Human Aspects Of…
July 27, 2016
Weeds that evolve resistance to herbicides are a serious threat to global agricultural production. In this Special Issue of Weed Science, Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100CHS Businesses In Washington, Idaho Combining For Great…
July 27, 2016
As full-service ag retailers, CHS Primeland and CHS Farmers Co-op collectively serve farmers and other customers in 15 counties in Read More
Storage Tanks at Nachurs
Crop InputsNACHURS Joins Field to Market
July 27, 2016
NACHURS announced today that it has joined Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, a leading multi-stakeholder initiative working Read More
Illinois Researchers
FertilizerMeasure Of Age In Soil Nitrogen Could Help Precision Ag…
July 26, 2016
What’s good for crops is not always good for the environment. Nitrogen, a key nutrient for plants, can cause problems Read More
Kochia
Crop InputsNufarm Launches New Herbicide for Resistant Kochia
July 25, 2016
Nufarm introduces Scorch herbicide for U.S. farmers and ranchers combating a broad range of troublesome broadleaf weeds. A unique premix Read More
ManagementNew Rabobank Report Calls for Farmer ROI Focus
July 25, 2016
As U.S. row crop farmers brace themselves for a third year of negative margins, Rabobank believes farmers must lower the Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsBloomberg: Syngenta-Chem China Deal on Track for Regula…
July 25, 2016
Syngenta AG, which has agreed to be taken over by China National Chemical Corp. for $43 billion, said talks with Read More
ManagementGROWMARK Meeting Visit, Company Takeover Updates, and R…
July 22, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent speaking engagement at GROWMARK’s eastern event, crop protection company merger rumors, Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto: EU Approves Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Imports
July 22, 2016
Monsanto Co. announced today that the European Commission has granted import approval for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans. This milestone Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsSyngenta Announces Alfalfa Seed Split Off
July 22, 2016
On September 1, 2016, Syngenta will transfer sales and distribution of alfalfa seed to the NEXGROW branded business that is Read More
Dow DuPont
Crop InputsDuPont, Dow Shareholders Approve Merger
July 21, 2016
DuPont and The Dow Chemical Company announced that, at their respective special meetings of stockholders held today, stockholders of both Read More
ManagementLand O’Lakes Announces SUSTAIN Business Unit, Oth…
July 20, 2016
Land O’Lakes, Inc. today announced the formal organization of a new business unit, SUSTAIN, and its leadership. SUSTAIN will focus Read More